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The Gold Standard in Veterinary Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

Once again, our doctors and veterinary nurses have completed advanced training in CPR Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support using the Reassessment Campaign on Veterinary Resuscitation, or RECOVER Initiative. This Initiative was designed in collaboration with the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. They discovered that less than 6 percent of dogs and cats who suffered cardiopulmonary arrest were revived. The shocking statistic led to the creation of the first evidence-based recommendations to resuscitate dogs and cats in cardiopulmonary arrest.

In order to become a Certified RECOVER Rescuer, our team must complete 8.5 hours of online RACE continuing education, followed by a 4-hour hands-on workshop using a specialized dog-like simulator. Doctors and veterinary nurses must pass the online and in-person exams and must recertify every 2 years.

Hospital Manager, Amanda Johnson, said “The sad truth is that cardiac or respiratory arrest patients are almost a daily occurrence in our hospital. Since we introduced this advanced training, we are seeing a remarkably positive trend and saving more lives. As the only 24-hour facility in Wichita and the surrounding area, we strive to be the best—the most practiced, the most educated—because our community depends on us.”

When an animal stops breathing and their heartbeat stops, the outcome is universally fatal without effective CPR. The RECOVER Initiative provides our veterinary staff necessary education and subsequently the confidence to perform this essential life-saving skill. That said, we could not have done it without our amazing training supervisor, Josie E., and her passion for the RECOVER initiative.

“I feel that veterinary professionals get limited education on performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. General education encourages the method of ‘Go Hard. Go Fast. And Don’t Stop.’ It lacks the principles of Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support. The RECOVER Initiative is a fully immersive experience teaching us how to control what we can control in a coding patient. The course has improved our decision-making, communication, leadership skills, and overall teamwork, and the success rate is higher than ever before,” said Josie E.

The live workshop offers a unique true to life experience using a novel high-fidelity simulator prototype, or ‘CPR dummy’. The dog simulators have an open mouth, with teeth and a tongue, to practice intubating and are designed to give realistic resistance when giving chest compressions, as well as palpable pulses, and chest movement. Our teams were given multiple scenarios with real time modules detailing concepts in patient monitoring, vascular access, drug administration, and defibrillation.

We can take these principles and directly apply them to an unresponsive patient. Our in-hospital crash cart is fully stocked; we even have a defibrillator. These regular CPR drills ensure there will be no delays in accessing the tools and supplies we need during an emergency.

We’re proud of the accomplishments of our team! Here’s what our CPR team leads had to say about the training:

“This CPR training has made me a better leader for my team during a code. I am proud that we are able to save more lives! The Recover Initiative has given our team the opportunity to improve our skills to continue to make a difference.” Laramie

“I think the in person Recover CPR training really helped everyone, at all levels. It gave us opportunities to work/learn hands on as teams without the stress of the animal being an actual patient. For me personally, it gave me an extra boost of confidence leading a code with knowing exactly what drugs can be given/when and especially how to use the defibrillator. We really saw the training shine in a code that I was involved in recently after this training, everyone was completely confident in what they were doing and it was ran like a well-oiled machine.” Stef